The Malaysia Health Minister has quit amidst a sex scandal in which he was the lead. This, however, is unlike any recent scandals where the video recording were intentionally taped. For Health Minister Chua Soi Lek, he was probably just a victim of others who were out to smear his good name. While it was morally wrong of him to have committed this act, he was courageous enough to admit to it instead of pushing the blame around.

Perhaps the video is too clear for him to deny anything, but at least he was up-front about it. It was still unclear if there is any political motive to it, although the act of recording him is deemed to be an invasion of privacy and is illegal.

KUALA LUMPUR – MALAYSIA’S Health Minister Chua Soi Lek resigned yesterday, after admitting to a shocked nation that he was the man in a widely circulated sex video.

Datuk Seri Dr Chua also quit as the Member of Parliament for Labis in Johor, and stepped down from all posts in his party, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA).

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Until yesterday, Dr Chua was one of the MCA’s four vice-presidents.

It was the first time in recent memory that a Malaysian minister had quit and accepted blame of any kind for his actions.

‘After I made my confession, I had hoped Malaysians would be able to accept my apology,’ a calm Dr Chua, 60, told a packed news conference at his ministry’s office in Putrajaya.

‘Unfortunately, from the feedback I received, I observed that Malaysians cannot accept it,’ he said.

‘Some Malaysians have a holier-than-thou attitude.’

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told a news conference that Dr Chua resigned because of the possible negative effects on the government and the party.

‘He has taken responsibility for what happened. I feel it was an appropriate decision considering the circumstances,’ he said.

Datuk Seri Abdullah, who said he had not viewed the video, also said it was ‘unlikely’ to undermine the government’s preparations for elections, widely expected by the middle of this year.

When asked, he said no legal action would be taken against Dr Chua. He also would not address talk that the scandal was a political plot.

‘I can’t speculate,’ he said. ‘It was an invasion of privacy and that is a criminal offence. Police will conduct an investigation.’

After an emergency two-hour meeting yesterday, the MCA’s top body said it ‘regretfully accepts and respects’ Dr Chua’s decision.

‘It must have been a difficult decision for him, and we commend him for putting his party and the country before self,’ said the party president, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting.

The MCA also said it would leave it to the Prime Minister to decide on a replacement for the vacant Cabinet post.

The party condemned those who filmed and distributed the DVDs.

Dr Chua had hinted that he was a victim of a political conspiracy within the party.

On Tuesday, he admitted that he was the man seen having sex with an unidentified woman in the DVD. He described the woman as a ‘personal friend’.

News of the two-part DVD was first reported in the Chinese dailies on Sunday, followed by the Malay-language Utusan Malaysia.

The first DVD, about an hour long, shows footage from four different camera angles in a hotel suite – the bed, living area, bathroom entrance and main door.

The second DVD, lasting 44 minutes, shows the couple having sex.

Utusan Malaysia said the woman, believed to be in her 20s, is a florist.

The DVDs were left in various locations in Muar and Batu Pahat for the public to pick up. Copies also made their way to other parts of the country.

Dr Chua, a father of three, said he did not make the DVDs. His wife, Datin Seri Wong Sek Hin, issued a statement accepting his apology.

hazlinh@sph.com.sg

kumhor@sph.com.sg

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 3rd January 2007; photo from Guang Ming Daily



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